Crime Time Soap
A play on Prime Time Soap
— a Police Procedural
drama that focuses as much on the complicated personal lives of its characters as it does on the crimes themselves.
As a Crime And Punishment show
ages and begins to exhaust the variations of its genre, the producers will start to crank up the soap elements of the show to compensate.
- Against The Wall
- A notable UK example of this is The Bill between 2002 and 2005.
- Black And White is a Taiwanese Series involving two detectives, the female Forensic Doctor, and the only daughter of the local crime boss.
- Blue Bloods
- Half the episodes on Blue Heelers are not about the Victim of the Week or trying to arrest the local psycho, interstate drug dealer or serial killer. They're about Dash coming to terms with having cancer, Tess fighting for custody of Hayley and Evan and Susie's relationship. In fact when Maggie and PJ became an Official Couple fans saw this as Growing the Beard and those seasons are regarded as the best.
- Bones has always been a very character-driven show, focusing on their lives as much as the crime of the week. A good reminder that Tropes Are Not Bad.
- Castle: There haven't been any complicated soapy turns so far, but the focus definitely is on the private lives.
- Without Brenda's truly wacky personal life, The Closer is a straight-up Detective Drama. With it, the show crosses the line into this. It's still pretty awesome, though.
- CSI: Miami
- CSI NY is heading into this territory as well, as of late.
- CSI: Cyber has a fair amount of personal drama for a show fresh off its first season.
- Day Break was this, with a twist: Detective Brett Hopper was framed for murder and stuck in a "Groundhog Day" Loop, which allows him to unravel the conspiracy one angle at a time. Still, the series revolved as much about the personal lives of Brett and his family and colleagues as it did on the mystery.
- Dexter is mostly about the psychology of the murderous, duplicitous main character.
- Hill Street Blues is possibly the Trope Maker.
- Homicide: Life on the Street is arguably the most critically acclaimed example.
- House started as a Police Procedural about chasing diseases instead of criminals. Now it's a Crime Time Soap about chasing diseases instead of criminals.
- The typically plot-driven of Law & Order veered into this territory for its 7th and 8th seasons.
- This was possibly a reaction to Homicide: Life on the Street and its cross-over with Law & Order. Tom Fontana (co-creator of the former) noted that the Law and Order actors wanted to do more humanised, character driven shows following their appearance on Homicide. As a result, the next two seasons were something of a compromise.
- Following the departure of the original showrunner René Balcer after season 5, Law & Order: Criminal Intent began to veer down this path for the remainder of its run.
- Law & Order: Special Victims Unit made its name by starting off as far more character-driven than its predecessor. How soapy it gets depends on the season and the episode, but the most recent seasons play it straight.
- If it is possible for a book series to fit this definition, then Midnight Louie is it. The series is supposed to be a series of mystery novels with the twist that certain chapters are narrated by cats, usually Midnight Louie, occasionally his daughter Midnight Louise. However, the books are just as much about the messy personal lives of the major cast of characters, which includes Louie's female owner, her one-time magician flame, her new boyfriend, a stalker that is after them all, and a police lieutenant caught up in their adventures who's a single mother.
Louie: So, there you have it, the usual human stew—folks good, bad, and hardly indifferent—totally mixed up and at odds with one another and within themselves. Obviously, it is left to me to solve all their mysteries and nail some crooks along the way. Like Las Vegas, the City That Never Sleeps, Midnight Louie, private eye, also has a sobriquet: the Kitty That Never Sleeps. With this crew, who could?
- NCIS is about the adventures of a navy special investigations unit, led by a diverse cast of characters, and their ability to handle the job. PTSD is acknowledged by the show, but as per Hollywood, rarely lasts beyond the episode.
- NYPD Blue
- Rookie Blue
- The Wire counts as a partial example.
- Without a Trace cranks up the drama to literally insane levels with the personal life of Jack Malone. When he's apparently murdered in one episode it actually comes as a relief, more than anything else.